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Full text of "NightRider"

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Mr. Munn tried to make out his face, but could not. There
was only the paler blur in the darkness. Then he looked up
at the sky. Only a few stars were visible. There'll be, he
thought, more than six hours till light.

" It's shore-God now cold," a voice said.

No one replied.

Mr. Munn tried to move his toes Inside his boots, but they
were stiff and cramped. He had not realized how cold he
was. Now, up to the knees, his legs were almost as stiff and
dead as posts. He could not detect the words of Doctor
MacDonald's singing any more, they had sunk so low. He
tried to remember how the words of the hymn went.

A voice called out, subduedly and indistinguishably, from
the woods across the lane. The gentle, dry, rustling sound
like a breeze increased in the woods, then, suddenly, was a
peremptory shuffling and crackling. A single figure appeared
in the lane.

" They're coming," Doctor MacDonald said.

Then there were the others. They came out of the woods,
shuffling the dead leaves, to hesitate raggedly in the open lane
and then form four abreast and move toward the railroad
tracks. They carried guns on their shoulders, and strips of
white cloth were across their faces. A few other men, masked
too and with white bands on their left arms, stood in the
lane, and kept saying, in harsh, suppressed voices: "Move up,
there! Move up, four abreast! Make, it four abreast, and
hold it." The head of the column moved up the lane, and
turned down the railroad track toward town. But in the lane
it was constantly replenished, the men there filtering from
the strip of woodland, hesitating, then forming and moving
away after the others. The last men came from the woods.

They all passed, and the lane was empty. The sound of
their crunching tread died away. There was silence except
for the stamping of a horse beyond the elder thicket.

Doctor MacDonald looked at his watch. "Mr. Burrus," he
said, " it's time for you all to be getting on to the telephone
office. You'll make it about right if you start now/'